Alex Gilliead is looking forward to his second league Iron Derby Day this weekend, with the latest encounter of three against the Mariners this season coming on home soil.
While a youthful United suffered defeat in midweek at the league leaders Swindon Town, there was much to be encouraged about the display at the County Ground.
Following a promising point at Port Vale last weekend, which also included a goal from the attacking midfielder, there is much to be confident about going into the game.
Speaking to iFollow Iron, the 24-year-old said: “We went there with a young squad and we’ve got a few injuries at the minute. It was obviously a good experience for them and we felt like we did alright in large parts of the game. We kept a good shape about ourselves.
“I think I was about the third oldest in the team and I was just trying to help the younger lads. The likes of Lidds (Ben Liddle) and Jai Rowe all got minutes and I think the lads held our own against a good team. They’re top of the league for a reason. It’ll do everyone the world of good, experience-wise and shows them the standard at this level.
“Scoring goals and getting assists is something I’ve been talking about a lot. Getting on the scoresheet and getting the draw at a tough place in Port Vale is always nice.”
United have twice come out on top in games against the Mariners this season, with a Kevin van Veen brace aiding the side to a 2-1 win in the Leasing.com Trophy before the Dutchman bagged the winner in the reverse fixture in December, both games at Blundell Park.
Reflecting on the latter encounter, Gilliead continued: “It was a scrappy game - a typical Derby Day game - and we did well to win it. I think it’ll be similar this weekend too, they’ll come here fired up, wanting to get about us and we have to do the same and make sure we’re ready for the battle.
“It’s massive for the fans, it’s massive for us and it’s massive for the club. Both clubs will want to win this game and the stadium will be bouncing with both sets of fans. We’ve got to make sure we show up, put on a good performance and make sure we get the three points.
“Everyone out on the training pitch has shown that they want to be involved, like they do every game. We’ve got to make sure we keep our heads, focus on what we’re good at and keep to the game plan. We don’t want to be giving any team the upper hand. I think it’ll be a feisty atmosphere and encounter, so we’ve got to make sure we keep ourselves disciplined.”
United will be backed by a bigger contingent and, with Grimsby also selling their allocation, the attendance will be the biggest of the season. Gilliead is looking for the Iron to use home advantage and has urged all those supporting Scunthorpe to get right behind the team selected.
“The fans can play a massive part,” he stated.
“When we were at their place, it was nearly a full house and it was a great atmosphere between both sets of fans. We’ve just got to make sure that when they come here, that they’re unsettled. We want our fans to be singing louder, getting behind us and pushing us on.”
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